Monday NHL Versus telecast: Phoenix Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks
Phoenix went into the United Center last week and dominated Chicago but things have changed since then. The Blackhawks head into Monday night’s rematch seeking a third consecutive win while the visiting Coyotes try to avoid a season-high third defeat in a row. Chicago is a -145 NHL hockey bets favorite on WagerWeb.com.
Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith nearly followed his second shutout of the season with another Tuesday in Chicago, making 24 saves in a 4-1 victory. Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp ended that bid with 42.9 seconds left.
The Hawks have won four of five, including the last two. Jonathan Toews is red-hot with five goals and five assists in the last four games. In fact, all of Chicago’s top line is playing well. Toews – the League’s Second Star for November – has 10 goals in 12 games, while Patrick Sharp has three goals in three games. Not to be outdone, Marian Hossa has 10 goals and seven assists in his last 17 games against Phoenix.
Radim Vrbata and Ray Whitney lead the Coyotes, who have lost two straight, with 22 points each. The Coyotes have one power-play goal in their past 35 attempts, and they are ranked next-to-last in the NHL. That has been somewhat offset by their fourth-ranked penalty kill, but when they allow shorthanded goals their chances of winning lessen considerably. Case in point: In Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Flyers, they were 0 for 4 on the power play and gave up two while shorthanded.
Against Philadelphia, goalie Mike Smith conceded four goals on 17 shots in the first period before coach Dave Tippett pulled him in favor of backup Jason LaBarbera. With three road games in four days, it’s possible LaBarbera will get the nod in Chicago. Even though Smith got the win last week vs. the Hawks, LaBarbera is 4-1-0 with a 2.14 goals against average in his last five starts against Chicago. No. 1 Corey Crawford should go for Chicago.
This is the third of four meetings, with both of the first two going to the visiting team.